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What the mind is for

In this video, Mark Solms summarises the four defining properties of the mind and consolidates these in order to explain what a mind is for.

In responding to the question “What is a Mind?”, we’ve examined defining properties of a mind in some detail from different disciplinary perspectives.

I have argued that these defining properties are:

  • Subjectivity: You are the subjective aspect of your body, what it is to be your body from the inside as opposed to observing it from the outside. Only you can know what that is like.
  • Consciousness: The capability of consciousness is added to subjectivity; a conscious subject feels like something. The function of consciousness is to determine how you are doing in terms of your vital needs. These states register as feelings of pleasure and unpleasure, of which there are a great variety.
  • Intentionality: Feelings are about things. Our perceptions and other representations concern objects in the outside world, which is the only place where they can be resolved. This ‘aboutness’ is called intentionality and links our subjective feelings to the external environment.
  • Agency: This is the ability to own our actions and responses. We use thinking as a tool for imagining possible outcomes before deciding how to act, thereby suppressing our instincts.

I’ve taken you on a journey of exploring what a mind is and tried to address the question ‘what is a mind for?’. I’ve already said that you are your mind and you are also your body. So, what is the difference between you and your body? I argue that you are the being of your body – you are the subjective aspect of your body. The mind is not an object – it is a subject.

Through thinking, the mind turns yourself back into itself as an object, so you can think about yourself in relation to other things.

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What is a Mind?

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